We have been in way too many class discussions on spiritual gifts where everybody becomes very tense and quiet; like a cage full of doomed rabbits watching one of their own butchered and skinned right in full view and knowing they're next. We hate that. Hopefully this chapter will help everybody relax; and show that most born again Christians probably already have all the gifts they're ever going to get and really shouldn't worry too much about getting any more.
One day Joanne and I began having doubts about the quality of the teaching staff at a church we began attending when our son Nate was in first grade. Too often we found teachers in the adult classes who didn't have a clue how to activate the new self that every believer receives from God through the new birth; nor did they even know what it means to walk in the Spirit. One clearly admitted right in class that he had no idea how it worked.
Another Sunday morning I watched a lady insist that the new heart, promised in the new covenant, is not for today. The teacher just stood there and said nothing about it; leaving her in the dark. I challenged another with a question about Joseph's relation to the new birth and he became confused and couldn't deal with it.
There's just no need for believers to put up with that. We know from Eph 4:11-13 God has provided the body of Christ with people that Himself gifted for the express purpose of bringing believers to a level of knowledge and maturity where God can make use of them in some way. So we have a right to expect competent instruction.
We know that no man can adequately represent God without working knowledge of the new birth because Jesus challenged Nicodemus about that very thing at John 3:10. And we also know it's impossible for church leaders to accomplish their mission if the teaching staff doesn't understand the new birth because according to 1Cor 2:1-16, and 2Cor 3:2-6, no one can do it with natural abilities; not even with a high IQ and a college degree.
We also know from Rom 8:6-8 the sinful nature tends to ignore God and go it's own way. His will just goes in one ear and right out the other. Human nature is inclined to tune God out, and those who live the Christian life in that condition often displease him. So before people worry too much about what gifts they might have, maybe they should drop back and learn how to walk in the Spirit first.
Teaching is a piece of cake when the man up front has a gift for it.
● Rom 12:5-8 . .We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is . . teaching, let him teach
● 1Cor 12:4-6 . .There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all.
● 1Cor 12:7-9 . . Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit
● Eph 4:10-13 . . It was he who gave some to be . . teachers
All Spirit gifts are distributed solely at the sovereign discretion of God's spirit.
● 1Cor 12:11 . . All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and He gives them to each one, just as He determines.
So then, just as it is necessary to be a naturally-gifted pianist in order to do justice to Rachmaninoff's 3rd, so it is necessary to be a Spirit-gifted teacher in order to stand in for Christ and feed his sheep.
Any numbskull can follow a packaged lesson plan, but only a Spirit-gifted man can truly speak for Christ. If a teacher lacks the gift to fill in for Christ while he's out of town, then they need to sit down and shut up before they get themselves in so much hot water that it'll take a Caterpillar 416 backhoe to get them out of the hole they've dug for themselves.
● 1Pet 4:11 . . If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God
Baptism Of The Spirit
An outstanding, and very unbelievable tenet of New Testament Christianity, is the indwelling of God's spirit. Honestly, when I ponder it, I actually try to block it out because it is just too weird to contemplate the possibility of a spirit being housed within my own body. So I can sympathize with those who cannot believe it is true.
●Acts 13:40-41 ...Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you; Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish, for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, even if someone told you.
●1Cor 6:19 ...Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?
Any Christian who is of the opinion that possession of God's spirit is some sort of second blessing and not all that important is very, very mistaken.
A Christian without God's spirit has no father in heaven.
●John 14:16-18 ...And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
A Christian without God's spirit is a fake sheep.
●Rom 8:9 ...You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
A Christian without God's spirit is little more than human wildlife.
●Jude 1:17-19 ...But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you; In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires. These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.
A Christian without God's spirit cannot understand the Bible because they will neither recognize, nor accept spiritual truth even coming from a Christian pastor.
●1Cor 2:14 ...The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.
A Christian who practices New Testament Christianity without God's spirit annoys God.
●Rom 8:6-8 ...The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
A Christian without God's spirit is excluded from Christ because God's spirit itself seals the believer into the Lord's fold.
●Eph 1:13-14 ...And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession; to the praise of his glory.
A Christian without God's spirit is going to Hell because they haven't been sealed for redemption.
●Eph 4:30 ...And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
No Spirit = no salvation
●Romans 8:8-11 …So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
According to Paul's statements in that passage, professing Christians who do not have God's Spirit within them, are 1) unspiritual, 2) displeasing to God, 3) not in the Spirit, 4) Christless, 5) lifeless, and 6) will not be given a proper resurrection; ergo: Spiritless Christians are going to Hell.
Additionally, since Spiritless Christians are lifeless; their thought processes are being controlled by dark beings.
●Eph 2:1-3 …And you he made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience
And since Spiritless Christians are lifeless, they will be judged at the Great White Throne of Rev 20:11-15 along with all the other lifeless people and summarily sentenced to a second death via immersion in a fiery substance.
There is yet one more serious ramification for professing Christians whose bodies do not house God's spirit. All of Paul's letters, every last one of them, were written to people whose bodies were housing God's spirit— including the letter to the Ephesians.
●Eph 1:13-14 ...In him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the good news of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
●1Cor 6:19 …What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
Therefore; every letter Paul wrote, every one of them, are none of their business; and when Spiritless Christians attempt to apply those letters to themselves, they are wantonly tampering with other people's mail.
How can a person know if they have God's spirit in them?
Back in the late sixties when I was just a fledgling Christian, I read Rom 8:9-11 and it really disturbed me. I reasoned thusly: if God's spirit, a living sentient being, is really inside my body, then shouldn't I be aware of it somehow? But that was dumb. After all, spirits are paranormal and cannot be detected by human senses. So we have to look for evidence of the presence of God's spirit in some other way than relying upon our natural senses to do it.
●Heb 11:1-2 ...Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
New Testament faith isn't merely believing the data is true and accurate. No. True faith contains the component of trust; and trust is the all important deciding factor in redemption. To find out whether you are truly trusting Christ or not; please stop now and Click Here.
New Testament faith is easily the most important spiritual blessing believers can apprehend. Without faith it is impossible to trust Jesus and rest assured of your safety from the wrath of God; and it is impossible to be confident you have God's spirit. Faith is a spiritual gift given only to those who have God's spirit residing within their mortal bodies.
●1Cor 12:9 ...to another faith by the same Spirit,
When you are truly one of Jesus' sheep, the spirit of God makes it real to you, and you will never wonder about it ever again.
●John 14:16-19 ...And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world at large cannot receive him, because it isn't looking for him and doesn't recognize him. But you do, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans— I will come to you.
●Rom 8:14-16 ...For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.
So-called spiritual gifts are not really a guarantee that someone is truly saved and serving God. After all, Jesus said that many Christians of ability will go to Hell.
●Matt 7:21-23 Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?" Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!
So just because someone is a very outstanding preacher, or a conscientious worker among orphans and street people, or a faith healer, or an exorcist, doesn't mean they are saved. Those abilities could very well be smoke and mirrors hiding their true colors; not only from others, but even from themselves.
The primary Greek word used for *gift in 1Corinthians chapter 12 is charisma, which means a gratuity, or a miraculous faculty.
Another key word in that chapter is found in verse 7. It's the word phanerosis which means: exhibition, expression, or a bestowment. Some translators have rendered it: manifestation. The editors of the NASV rendered 1Cor 12:7 like this: "But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good."
The actual word translated "common good" is sumphero which means: to bear together (contribute), i.e. to collect, or to conduce; or as an advantage. The same word is used at Matt 5:29-30. There it concerns what's best for an individual rather than everybody else. And at Heb 12:10, where again it is the individual that counts, not the collective.
So that word has a dual application concerning spiritual gifts. A gift can profit others when the gifted individual shares his abilities, and a gift can also profit the gifted individual himself as well. It's easy to prove that God has given all believers a basic provision of gifts for their own individual benefit. And it's just as easy to prove that only a very relative few have been given special aptitudes to share with others.
It's very important to recognize that although every saved person is given God's spirit, not all are given a special talent. Most of us garden variety type believers will get along just fine with nothing more than the common spiritual aptitudes that God distributes to each and every one of us so we can all be enabled to walk with God.
So what are some of the basic provisions? The most important one is God's spirit itself. The Spirit is a must for everyone and it's seen as a gift at verse 7. And we know from Rom 8:9 that to be without the Spirit is to be alienated from God, and damned.
Next is faith. We know from Heb 11:6 that without faith it is impossible to please God. So faith is a must for everyone; and verse 9 says faith is a gift. Two more are in verse 8; expression and reasoning with wisdom and knowledge. Two "must" gifts so that every believer can be taught the Bible— so they can recognize the truth and accept it (1John 2:27).
In our opinion the most important information in chapter 12 is found in verse 11: distributing to each individual just as he wills. That tells me nobody gets what they prefer; but instead, what the Spirit itself, in sovereign selection, has decided.
It isn't difficult for ambitious people to find a niche in a local church. But beware. We know from 1Cor 3:9-15, unless God himself has arranged the assignment, the activity will be wood, hay, and stubble even if it looks as if everything is running along just fine. According to 12:18, God is totally sovereign in this and reserves the right to personally position each and every person who has a special gift.
We know from Jas 3:1, teachers especially are in a high risk group for accountability. Just because someone has spent some time in a divinity school, has a college degree, or is a natural leader and a good public speaker; doesn't mean God appointed them to stand in Jesus' place and tamper with the minds of those for whom he suffered humiliation and death. They had better be very sure they are able to get across the very same things that Jesus would discuss if he were here to do it himself.
Back when Joanne was a greenhorn new believer, she was encouraged by some well meaning people in church to lead a children's class for just about no other reason than that she was a professional kindergarten teacher at the time. She managed through one summer and fall and then called it quits to become active in the singles group (where we met). It was an unpleasant experience for her because Joanne didn't really know the Bible and she had to struggle through he classes without a gift from God to do it. And they really shouldn't have recruited her in the first place because Paul says new people should not be called upon to take responsibility in church.
●1Tim 5:22 ...Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands,
●1Tim 3:6 ...He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil.
New people are just babies in The Lord. Is it really wise to ask a baby to do a man's job? And new people have very poor spiritual insight. If the blind lead the blind, won't both fall into a ditch?
1Cor 12 will easily keep all of us out of trouble; but only if we heed it. Try to function for God only in areas where you feel the most comfortable and the most efficient in your own world. Don't ever let anybody pressure or shame you into something that you suspect God himself would never assign you.
At times you will hear it said that "someone has to do it." But stay back. If a church seems short handed it's because God isn't providing for their programs, and the leadership needs to find out why. It could very easily be true that Christ has already given them all the people they need to accomplish His purposes and they have become over-extended because of too many irons in the fire. Churches seem to have a knack for getting themselves buried in an avalanche of superfluous schemes.
The New Testament's Greek word for *tongue is glossa (gloce-sah'); which means: the tongue (as an organ); by implication, a language.
The major teaching about tongues is 1Cor 14:1-28; and the word *unknown— as in unknown tongue —is nowhere in the passage verbatim. In English versions, it’s actually an inserted word; not a translated word. Sometimes translators take a little educated license and insert words into translations in the hopes that the inserted words will facilitate comprehension. But often, those inserted words only introduce confusion and schism rather than unity and comprehension. Courteous translations often italicize inserted words to alert Bible students so they don't get tricked into thinking that everything they read is the virtual word of God when it isn't; but not all translations do that. The better translations leave "unknown" out all together, and let the Greek go as is; e.g. the NIV, the NAS, the NASU, the RSV, the NAB, and the ASV.
There are specific guidelines stipulated in 1Cor 14 regarding the use of languages in a church assembly.
1. 14:9.....The tongue must be a valid
2. 14:27...A maximum of three people per meeting may speak in a tongue.
3. 14:27...There must be an interpreter present.
4. 14:28...If no one can interpret, then the tonguers must remain silent.
5. 14:34...Women are not permitted to speak in tongues.
6. 14:40...Chaotic din is forbidden.
7. 14:23...Tongues alienate visitors and teach them nothing.
8. 14:20...Infatuation with tongues is immature.
According to the New Testament, tongues are genuine foreign languages, not the blabbering drivel that is so prevalent today in many charismatic assemblies.
●Acts 2:5-11...Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked; Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs; we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!"
Not every Bible Christian has the gift. So tongues are absolutely not a valid test of one's possession of God's spirit.
●1Cor 12:27-30 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?
Since language skills aren't distributed to everyone, then it would be a mistake to expect to see them in each and every Bible Christian.
Some believe that their particular language is the tongue of an angel. *chuckle* Please excuse me for laughing. We know from 1Cor 14:22 that tongues are supposed to be used for preaching to unbelievers not to those who believe already. Preaching to an angel would be a waste of motion. I just don't think God really needs anybody to evangelize the holy angels and teach them the Bible; do you?
Objection: But Webers, some people are so emotional and so tongue tied that they cannot express their love and devotion to God unless they pray in tongues. After all, doesn't Romans 8:28 say that God's spirit itself prays for believers in groanings that cannot be uttered?
God's spirit is a Divine being. It's no wonder that it speaks in groanings that human beings cannot duplicate. But you mean to tell me that you don't have enough command of your own native language to express yourself in a clear, intelligent manner? Would you talk to your wife or best friend with blather? What if God should suddenly appear at your door like when He visited Abraham in the seventeenth chapter of Genesis? Would you babble at Him? Abraham didn't.
Those "groanings that cannot be uttered" are divine words that human beings can neither pronounce nor understand. Don't you get it? It's an insider's language that only God can speak and understand; the angels don't even know it.
Objection: But when people are filled with God's spirit, isn't it possible they might be able to speak the Spirit's language in their prayers?
Absolutely not! And why would you want to anyway? If you were able to pronounce the words of the Spirit's language, then there would be no need for it to speak in your behalf with groanings that cannot be uttered; would there? You could dismiss the Spirit and do it's job yourself. No, the way to gauge your filling of God's spirit is not in secret codes; it's in the fruit of the Spirit.
●Gal 5:22-26 ...But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.
Maybe before you put so much emphasis upon talking like God's spirit, you should think first about walking by His spirit; don't you think? And by the way; how are you doing with that part of Christianity?
●2Pet 1:3-10 ...His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
...For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
...But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall.
I strongly recommend that you read our chapter on The Best Way To Pray. Get your act together, and stop babbling like a mental case.
Objection: 1Cor 14:27 says nothing about two or three people. Go back and study it. Notice it is talking only about one man. "If any man", singular.
The New Testament's Greek word for "any man" is tis (tis); which is an enclitic indefinite pronoun meaning: some, any person, any object.
tis can be both plural and singular. Here's a couple of examples.
●John 3:3 …Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless someone(tis) is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
That passage certainly doesn't limit the new birth to just one individual; but as a grammatical combination of *tis and the singular male pronoun *he, that passage is commonly understood to apply to everyone and to everybody.
●John 6:51 …I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone(tis) eats of this bread, he will live forever
That passage certainly doesn't limit living forever by eating the living bread to just one individual; but as a grammatical combination of *tis and the singular male pronoun *he, that passage is commonly understood to apply to everyone and to everybody.
Your mind is reading your version of 1Cor 14:27 to infer that when an individual tonguer speaks in a meeting, the tonguer is limited to speaking in a maximum of three languages at a time. But that's not what Paul said. What he's really saying is that the number of tonguers who may speak is limited to three tonguers per meeting.
Objection: Look up the definition of "by course".
The New Testament's Greek word for "by course" is meros (mer'-os); which means: to get as a section or allotment; a division or share.
Within the context of a tongues meeting, it's obvious that meros means that the two or three tonguers present have to give each other a chance to speak; viz: take turns.
Objection: 1Cor 14:34 doesn't say women are not permitted to speak in tongues. Nothing is said about tongues.
If women aren't permitted to speak at all, then they surely wouldn't be permitted to speak in a foreign language; would they?
Question: Is Paul saying tongues are immature in 1Cor 14:20, or that the understanding of the brethren was immature?
He is saying neither. That verse refers to genuine grown-upness. It is adolescent for a professing Christian to be infatuated with speaking in foreign languages during a meeting. It's akin to setting off cherry bombs in commodes, strewing toilet paper over somebody's house, or putting frogs down a little girl's blouse.
Question: What does it mean to be "unlearned"
That refers to someone who speaks your own language and hasn't heard the Gospel yet. When curious English-speaking sinners attend a modern charismatic meeting here in America, I've no doubt many go away thinking you are all fanatics bent upon drinking poison in order to rendezvous with an alien space ship hiding out behind a passing comet.
Tongues can be a problem in church because sometimes the tonguer himself doesn't understand what he's saying.
●1Cor 14:13-14 ...So anyone who has the gift of speaking in tongues should pray also for the gift of interpretation in order to tell people plainly what has been said. For if I pray in tongues, my spirit is praying, but I don't understand what I am saying.
Objection: When Paul says, "my understanding is unfruitful" he is implying the things that he understands, his understanding, can not be fruitful to those that don't understand his language.
Translators often have a choice of words, and sometimes use one that's misleading. Like for instance the English word "understanding" that your translation has at 1Cor 14:14. The Greek word is ambiguous and doesn't necessarily mean understanding. The Greek word that your translation rendered "understanding" is nous (nooce) which means: the intellect, i.e. mind (divine or human; in thought, feeling, or will); by implication meaning:
Paul’s implication is that it is highly preferable that when you yourself pray, that you pray in a language that you yourself easily understand, rather than in a language you don’t understand, lest you inadvertently leave your own self out of the loop.
●1 Cor 14:15 ...Well then, what shall I do? I will do both. I will pray in the spirit, and I will pray in words I understand. I will sing in the spirit, and I will sing in words I understand.
Objection: You've made an assumption that Paul is speaking about his own personal understanding, but is he? If you had kept reading, you would have seen that Paul wasn't talking about his own understanding, but that of the listeners.
There's no need for assumption when the text is clear.
●1Cor 14:16-17 ...For if you praise God only in the spirit, how can those who don't understand you praise God along with you? How can they join you in giving thanks when they don't understand what you are saying? You will be giving thanks very nicely, no doubt, but it doesn't help the other people present.
You erred by failing to follow Paul’s line of thought all the way through from verse 15 to 17. First he points out that it is of no benefit to your own self to pray in a language that you yourself don't even understand. Then he goes on to apply that same futility to your associates in a prayer meeting. If you're blabbering in a language that neither you nor the others understand; then not only will you yourself not know what you're saying, but your prayer partners won't either, and thus they won't be able to participate in your prayer because they won't know any more than you what's being said. Thus you effectively leave everyone out of the loop, including your own self.
Use A Tongue Wisely
The gift of languages is specifically for teaching the Bible, not for wigging out and impressing your friends. Since most American churches are attended by people who speak English, it's unnecessary for the average American pastor to have that particular gift. There are lots of foreign language fellowships— e.g. Spanish, Korean, Ukraine, and Chinese —staffed by pastors who actually speak those languages so that Koreans, Latinos, Russians, and Chinese aren't forced to attend English-only churches in America.
If Koreans, Latinos, Russians, and Chinese-speaking people were to visit a modern tongues meeting, I've no doubt most would think the so-called *Christians participating in the meeting were crackpots and weirdoes. Church ought to be a place where visitors can come and hear the "good news of great joy" without being freaked out by blithering idiots.
●1Tim 6:3-5 …If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to Godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but has a morbid interest in controversial questions and endless debates, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved minds deprived of the truth
"Tongues" are valid foreign languages (e.g. Acts 2:1-11); and they are distributed by God's spirit to individual Christians of His own sovereign selection.
●1Cor 12:4-11 …There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
●1Cor 12:28 …And God has appointed these in the church
According to the Bible, not every Christian has the gift of tongues; not even the ones who are actually going to Heaven when they die.
●1Cor 12:27-30 …Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a particular body part. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?
●1Cor 14:5 …I wish you all had the gift of speaking in tongues
Tongues can be faked; and to be safe from exposure, all that the fake tonguer has to do is say they are speaking either in the tongue of an angel or the tongue of God's spirit; and how can anybody prove them wrong? But a valid gift of tongues goes to waste when the tonguer keeps it to themselves because the gift of tongues is a tool that's supposed to be used to impress unbelievers in order to get them to listen to the Gospel.
●1Cor 14:22 …So you see that speaking in tongues is a sign, not for believers, but for unbelievers
So when professing Christians use tongues as an evidence that they are a true Christian, then they are using tongues for the wrong purpose; and are actually behaving in an immature manner.
●1Cor 14:18-21 …I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. But in a church meeting I would much rather speak five understandable words that will help others than ten thousand words in an unknown language. Dear brothers and sisters, don't be childish in your understanding of these things. Be innocent as babies when it comes to evil, but be mature and wise in understanding matters of this kind.
Do you recall how John began the epistle 1John? He said this at 1:3; "We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ."
Fellowship doesn't mean hanging out with your buddies. It means working together towards a common goal. God has never let up in his zeal for the Bible. Jesus and his father are focused on it every day, and they never get bored. We can all have a part in their efforts to get the Bible working in our lives and in the lives of others; but we have to listen to the apostles and go about it the right way or we'll fail for sure. That was John's focus at 1:3. He wanted us to know the right way to go about things so that any one of us, if we have a mind to, can cultivate a viable working relationship with Jesus and his father.
But we have got to pay attention to the apostles. It's totally dumb to ignore their lead and try to wing it on our own because we won't be rewarded if we go about Christian service all wrong. The will of God is laid out for us in the texts of the Bible. If we choose to ignore that, then everything in church, in life, and in every endeavor, will be nothing in the world but just a way to pass the time until we're dead.
1Cor 12:27-28, and Eph 4:7-16 easily prove that acceptable service to God is always closely controlled by His spirit. It's very serious in the area of spiritual education because it is so easy for just one person in a key position to damage large numbers of others and prevent them from getting in the groove.
We wanted to be sure to stress this because it's so easy to fall into the trap of Christian service in a way that is not pleasing to God; and the meanwhile totally missing a particular direction he would have preferred for you to go.
A woman once announced to her minister that she believed God called her to preach. He asked; "Do you have children?" "Yes"; she said. "Well"; he replied, "that's wonderful. God called you to preach and He gave you a congregation."
It is very simple to serve God. Most often your own individual area of operations is right under your nose and well within the capabilities you already have.
●1Pet 4:10-11 ...Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
But before anyone seriously considers becoming deeply involved in a particular Christian service capacity, they would do well to consider their own personal character first, before they get too high minded and knock their priorities out of whack.
●2Tim 2:19-21 ...Nevertheless, God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness." In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus